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A community in lights


Posted: December 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 22, 2013 2:00 a.m.

In 1991, Wakefield Court was like most other streets: Some folks decorated houses, while others chose not to.
Around 1993, several folks in the middle of the street decided to bundle portions of long strings of lights to create an icicle effect, and hang the string across the street. The bundles were made with the ties from bread bags.

In January of 1994, we were hard hit by the Northridge earthquake, and we were without electricity and water for almost a week. Everyone shared food, water, sleeping bags, tents, batteries and everything else anyone on the street needed.

It was a time for all of us to become acquainted and reach out where needed.

Most importantly, the crisis brought everyone together to share, bond and create long-term friendships.

It was one moonlit night when we started to throw out ideas to maintain the friendships and force us out of our houses to work together again.

The street made plans to string lights between the houses, as a symbol of unity for the community to enjoy during the holidays.

The Wakefield Christmas campaign was born.

As the activity grew, each year and neighbor brought something new to the block.

Dave “Gonzo” Gonzales was appointed as the street “mayor” due to his imagination, coordinating efforts and creation of many unique decorations.

In 1996, Tim Archer and his family moved onto the street, and Tim brought his passion of contributing to Toys for Tots, an organization he was involved with for many years, which is now replaced by the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley.

Tim has exerted a tremendous amount of time, dedication, organization and addictive enthusiasm to generate a community that works and plays together, as evidenced by the caliber of the decorations and weekend pit parties throughout the street.

Together, Gonzo and Tim generated the passion for this tradition as we know it today.

More than ten years ago, Chris French drove through the street and asked if he could bring his church “band” to the street to perform during weekends. Of course, Tim has opened up his garage to Chris ever since, providing live Holiday music to the street.

Mike Halverson and Ray Arroyo head up the labor side of the equation, and they are assisted by everyone else willing and able to help out.

Each year, SCV residents see firsthand all of the effort, work, dedication and camaraderie exhibited by everyone on the street. Wakefield Ct. is truly a labor of love that gives back to the community we are privileged to live in.
Through our work, our bonds will live on forever through neighbors past, present and future.

We hope to see you on Wakefield Court again soon.

To donate unwrapped toys to the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley, bring items to 21911 Wakefield Court and place in the red, wooden train labeled for donations. There is also a donation box for Bridge to Home Homeless Services at 21982 Wakefield Court.


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